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Local man uses painting as method for recovery

Local man uses painting as method for recovery
Local man uses painting as method for recovery

Eric Fishel claimed five ribbons in adult art at the recent Obion County Fair. Fishel’s art instruction came courtesy of his neighbor and friend, Bob “Moon Man” Thomas of Union City, who won several ribbons of his own.
Special Features Editor
You can’t paint a pretty picture about a brain tumor. Unless you’re Eric Fishel.
Fishel, an athlete in his younger days, a former Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. employee, a farmer raising cattle and chickens on 35 acres of prime land in Obion County, and a father who encouraged his daughters with their prize-winning sheep, knows about brain tumors first hand.
Fishel is the husband of Camielle Fishel and the father of Hailey and Cameryn, who are both college students.
He underwent his first surgery for a tumor in his brain in 2006 and has had two subsequent surgeries. Each one has involved radiation and therapy — speech, occupational and physical. It has been a challenge every time, but Fishel is not about to give up.
Two years ago his neighbor, local artist Bob Thomas, noticed Fishel was letting no grass grow under his feet. He was out and about every day the weather would co-operate, riding his golf cart to Health Quest to work out, taking care of his lawn and refusing to bow to circumstances.
Having discovered his own artistic talent after he reached his mid-adult years, Thomas thought it possible that Fishel might enjoy exploring similar possibilities. He raised the question with his neighbor, who responded that he could not use his right hand.
That turned out to be no real problem. Eric Fishel manages a paint brush with a skillful left hand — one that impressed the judges at the recent Obion County Fair — and he and Thomas entered into an exciting adventure. They even extended their unorthodox approach to utilizing a variety of canvases for their work. Thomas, who adopted the moniker “Moon Man,” has long enjoyed testing his skills in such fashion and encouraged Fishel to experiment, as well. They work in acrylics and use salvaged wood and other pieces for their transforming work.
Fishel claimed a blue, a red and three white ribbons for his entries at the recent Obion County Fair. Thomas took home a total of 17.
Fishel’s favorite piece of art, however, was a trifle too large to be considered for a prize in the local venue. And that’s no bull. The painting shows the coal black king of the barnyard in all his glory, and it’s the work Fishel is most proud of.
Thomas says his neighbor, friend, protégé and artistic pal definitely has bragging rights. “We’ve had fun painting and Eric’s accomplishments are unbelievable.”
Eric explains that they paint in Thomas’ studio and he enjoys the artistic atmosphere around the pool area there.
“It is a fun venue,” Thomas agrees. “I’ve watched Eric recover and get positive about what he’s doing. He has determination like I’ve never seen.”
The next project for the artistic duo will be decorating a chair for the upcoming CornFest Day in the Park silent auction event on Sept. 15.

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